IVF Children Have Higher Cancer Rate

LUND, Sweden, July 20 (UPI) — A study of children born via in vitro fertilization from 1982 to 2005 found they had a moderately higher cancer rate than others, Swedish researchers found.

Dr. Bengt Kallen of the University of Lund in Sweden and colleagues say earlier studies showed IVF infants had a slightly higher rate of certain birth defects, such as heart problems and cleft palates.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, says among the children born via IVF, 53 cases of cancer were found, while — based on normal rates of cancer in children — 38 cases were found in the general population.

Maternal age, parity, smoking, subfertility, previous miscarriages, body mass index and multiple births did not significantly affect cancer risk in the children — but high-birth weight, premature delivery, the presence of respiratory diagnoses and low Apgar score were risk factors for cancer.

“We found a moderately increased risk for cancer in children who were conceived by IVF. This is probably not attributable to the IVF procedure itself but could be an effect of confounding from unidentified characteristics of women who undergo IVF or could act via the widely known increased risks for neonatal complication,” the researchers say in a statement. “It should be stressed that the individual risk for a child who is born after IVF to develop childhood cancer is low.”

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